This chapter examines the role which modernization played in Africa's development trajectory especially from the late colonial period. It states that in spite of the various reformulations of the modernization paradigm, a central and consistent goal among proponents of the paradigm has been to present it in a beneficial form, in what constitutes a variant of "the civilizing mission". The chapter interrogates the role of modernization in Africa's development process. Weber's theory of rationality and irrationality provided the basis for the modernization paradigm as popularized by Parsons, who interpreted and translated Weber's works into the English language. The state occupies a central position in the modernization paradigm's analysis of economic development in Africa. The severe economic crisis that African countries experienced in the 1980s provided the neoclassical economists with an opportunity to reformulate the modernization paradigm although they tried to disguise the new approach embodied in structural adjustment programs (SAPs) as a departure from the modernization model.